Pass around that wooden phallus, boys

ManKind Project Faces Another Lawsuit, More Publicity About Wooden Dildos

Looks like the folks at the ManKind Project are embroiled in another lawsuit, and along with it are getting a bit more media attention.

On Monday, Bloomberg columnist Susan Antilla offered her take on a lawsuit filed in California by a lawyer who got pretty riled up at the notion of being asked by his boss to participate in the controversial group's signature program, the New Warrior Training Adventure. The program is supposedly geared toward helping men confront childhood traumas and move past their pain via a series of male bonding rituals, which can include nudity and passing around a wooden phallus.

Critics have asserted that the group practices therapy without a license on vulnerable people, though the organization vehemently denies the claims.

In 2005, Michael Scinto of Houston killed himself after returning from a Training Adventure at the Houston chapter of the international nonprofit organization, revealing the group's secretive rites and exercises in a series of letters he left behind. His parents sued the local chapter, which settled the matter confidentially, promising to be more transparent about what goes on during the retreats. Prior to the settlement, participants had to sign strict confidentiality agreements not to disclose what goes on.

The recent lawsuit in California was filed by an attorney against his former employer. The man apparently claims that his boss stopped paying him when he did not follow his boss' suggestion to attend an MKP weekend retreat. Eventually, according to the Bloomberg story, the boss became so angry that the man felt he had no choice but to quit his job.

Antilla opines on the weirdness an employee might feel during an MKP retreat if his boss were present, stating, "it's got to be a real buzz kill to think you could be passing that wooden dildo around the room in front of the guy who signs your paycheck."

More than two years after the Houston Press wrote about Scinto, MKP responded to the story by posting a letter on its website, though the group did not deny, and in many cases confirmed, numerous allegations made by those interviewed for the Press' article.

It will be interesting to see how this latest lawsuit plays out.

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